An Easter Solemn Assembly
Today, March 31, 2018, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in a sacred solemn assembly where we sustained a new prophet and president of the Church. Since the restoration of the Gospel in 1830, each of the prophets, from Joseph Smith to President Russell M. Nelson, has been sustained during a solemn assembly.
During a solemn assembly in the early days, the members of the church would sit by priesthood quorum and each quorum would stand and vote as a quorum and then the general membership would be called upon to sustain the new prophet. President Gordon B. Hinckley, speaking at the solemn assembly when Ezra Taft Benson was sustained as the prophet and president of the church, said that the meeting was:
“a tremendously significant and sacred occasion for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.” The format for sustaining officers at (this)conference was abbreviated from that of past solemn assemblies because, explained President Hinckley, “in these present circumstances, it is considered unfeasible to seat by quorums those assembled in the Tabernacle and the many other halls. We shall, however, vote by quorums and groups.” (I Have a Question).
The first solemn assembly that I had the privilege of participating in was when Ezra Taft Benson was sustained as the prophet and president of the Chruch in April 1986 and I have participated in each solemn assembly since that one. It is a sacred privilege to stand and raise my hand to the square and sustain each new prophet. Today as I stood the spirit bore witness to me that Russell M. Nelson is the Lord's mouthpiece today.
What makes this solemn assembly even more special is that it is on Easter weekend when celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President Nelson was called by him to lead His Church. "The calling of an Apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead." (Apostle)
When the Apostles met to replace Judas after Christ's death and resurrection, one of the requirements that they required was the person needed to be a witness of Christ's ministry and resurrection (Acts 1:20-21). Those called to be modern apostles are also witnesses of Christ to all the world. Just like prophets of old, our modern prophets are called to be the Lord's mouthpiece to the world and they are the watchmen on the tower that will warn us of the dangers we will face.
The scriptures teach that "surely the Lord God will do nothing but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7) and the Lord promises that all his words will be fulfilled "whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants it is the same". (D&C 1:38)
It is comforting to know that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He loved his children anciently as much as he loves us today. He spoke to prophets anciently and he speaks to them today, even President Russell M. Nelson. President Nelson is a witness for Christ today as much as Moses, Elijah, and Peter. If we will listen to his counsel and teachings in conference this weekend we will know what we need to do to be protected from the evils that surround us and what we need to do to keep our families safe.
As we participate in the solemn assembly and celebrate Easter this weekend we can be assured that the Lord lives today and that he has called prophets to guide us in these latter days.